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Having the right manager is crucial

Written by Albert Pule
The Ravele Community Property Association in Levubu, Limpopo, received 16 macadamia, avocado, banana, sweet potato and litchi farms worth R42 million from government in 2005.

An agency called South African Farm Managers (SAFM) managed the farm. The agency’s role is to teach communities to use restituted land successfully.

In 2007, Danie Basson was appointed as Chief Production Officer of SAFM.

Bethuel says the CPA and SAFM did not see eye to eye on a number of things pertaining to the running of the farm.

“One of the major issues is that they did not support the production process designed by the chief production officer and us as the CPA.”

The disagreement led to the collapse of the agreement between Ravele CPA and the managing agent.

After the disbandment of the agreement, the CPA hired Basson directly to manage the four business units. They are Applefontein & Bull, Machikiri & Britz (banana), EMS (macadamias, litchis and avocadoes) and Redbank (macadamias).

The CPA gave Basson a six-month contract and within the six months he had performed wonders on the farm. “He developed sound production processes that brought the units back to life and based on his work ethic we then decided to give him a five year contract.”

The CPA sells its produce to markets in Pretoria and Johannesburg (litchis). It exports macadamias to China, the United States, the Middle East, Europe and Canada. The avocadoes are exported to France.